By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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It probably depends on perspective.
On one hand, the Mountaineers built a commanding 22-9 lead at halftime and held off Forks' comeback attempt.
Meanwhile, the Spartans, after being held to two points in the first quarter and nine points in the first half, closed within three points in the fourth quarter before late free throws boosted Rainier's margin of victory to nine points.
“It was a competitive game,” Forks coach Rick Gooding said following Friday's game.
“The second half we came out, we fought. That's basically all you can ask your kids to do when you're having a tough time.
“Like I always tell them: Tough times won't last, tough people will.”
Junior guard Colton Raben toughed out the flu and was instrumental in the Spartans' rally.
Raben only played for short stretches in the first half, and began the second half on the bench before re-entering the game a few minutes into the third quarter.
He played most of the second half and led Forks with 15 points.
“We're just a completely different team when Colton's not on the court,” Gooding said.
“Offensively, everything runs through him a Leo [Gonzales]. We're kind of designed that way.”
Gonzales finished with 14 points.
Other than Raben's increased presence, Gooding said the Spartans dribbled less in the second half.
“That was the big thing,” Gooding said.
“We started actually moving the basketball with the pass instead of getting the ball, waiting for the defense to set up, take two dribbles and then try to make a pass.
“The ball was moved, the ball was reversed; the defense had to move.”
Rainier (3-1 in league, 3-5 overall) was led by Zack Froembling, one of the Evergreen League's top players, who had 19 points, while Bailey Miller finished with 11.
Forks (1-4, 2-7) was playing its last home game until Friday, Jan. 24.
The Spartans play at Montesano (1-1 5-3) and Tenino (0-3, 2-5) next week.
Rainier 48, Forks 39
Rainier 12 10 11 15— 48
Forks 2 7 14 16— 39
Zack Froembling 19, Mckoy Bichler 3, Bailey Miller 11, Trevor Shaw 7, Colby Coker 8.
Colton Raben 15, Andrew Armas 3, Ish Greene 2, Parker Browning 2, Ollie Sampson 3, Leo Gonzales 14.